Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sounds in the Distance - Whatre Those Hepcats Up To?

Riffing off my pal Anne H.'s great post about signs of an upcoming encounter

Anne is one of my favorite players, bar none, and she's a terrific thinker in terms of DM side stuff. In our exchange on MeWe (yuck, btw, still not a fan of the UI or ease of finding conversations)...

excuse me - in our exchange I pointed out that Moldvay has the DM determine the distance until the encounter happens with a 2d6 times 10', the direction as she or he might wish. That's what all those empty rooms are for in the Moldvay stocking process: to have free spots to put random encounters.

I also have a "Gang Names" generator that's pretty amusing

 I guess one part of the artistry of being a DM is knowing and conveying what those weirdos are up to. Luckily, I've done a miniscule part of that for you. I play with Tablesmith a great deal and I like to do this sort of thinking a couple of times and then not again... So I made a "What Those Folk Up To?" thing in Tablesmith that helps me stock nefarious weirdos and their strange and inscrutable motives. HOW you convey those things they are doing is up to you, I suggest with sounds and smells since (hopefully) the party won't see those creatures if they are more than 30' or so (so out of lantern light).

Here's a list. You could use a d100 and keep rolling until you got something. All this stuff might lead to combat, I guess, or probably (in my game, at least) more likely to get into a roleplay thing. I stick with gibberlings because of the swords, hair, and chicken feet lets me use my Greaser voice from The Outsiders or maybe Grease or some Jersey variant.

# NMS_HumanoidMotives

  1. searching for food
  2. eating food
  3. searching for mates
  4. mating
  5. gambling
  6. squabbling about betting
  7. in a war party
  8. in the midst of battle
  9. trading
  10. squabbling about trading gone wrong
  11. scavenging
  12. hiding food stores
  13. digging a hole
  14. painting glyphs
  15. painting historical scenes
  16. painting mythical scenes
  17. dancing around a fire
  18. engaged in a religious ritual
  19. burying their dead
  20. entombing their dead
  21. building a funeral pyre
  22. cremating their dead
  23. disposing of evidence
  24. caring for their young
  25. instructing their young
  26. building a shelter
  27. building a fire
  28. healing their wounded
  29. telling tales
  30. telling jokes
  31. on the lam
  32. recovering from a battle
  33. building a shrine
  34. building a temple
  35. capturing livestock
  36. hunting game
  37. in a courting ritual
  38. gathering supplies for a shelter
  39. preparing to hibernate
  40. escaping from persecution
  41. escaping from imprisonment
  42. capturing prisoners
  43. looking guilty
  44. looking unsettled
  45. looking anxious
  46. looking terrified
  47. fleeing a powerful enemy
  48. dismembering a large carcass
  49. cooking soup
  50. bickering
  51. wrestling
  52. carousing
  53. drinking liquor
  54. drinking hallucinogens
  55. consuming drugs
  56. passed out
  57. recovering from illness
  58. suffering from illness
  59. dying of some plague
  60. laughing uproariously
  61. tittering
  62. hiding
  63. hiding badly
    64. to 75 (roll twice - included for your ease and merriment)
    76-100 Getting ready to mess you up, interloper (this isn't in the original Tablesmith thing)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Interdimensional Wrong Numbers

I try to think of stuff on my once-weekly tedious commute while I am listening to the Cramps or maybe some gaming podcasts. I've been playing a great deal of Dark Souls on the playstation and so I'm full of self-hatred and really want to sit next to a campfire and sulk

This week I think maybe I'd heard that there's a third Bill n Ted movie in the works, and somebody looking for EUGENE called me yesterday while I was driving, maybe a police fund raiser and it got me thinking that usually I just threaten to murder cold-callers (especially if they hassle my wife or won't take a hint, I mean c'mon bro I know you need to make a living but if you suggest to my wife that my daughter is not safe a couple of times then it gets me in the mind of conspiracies and kidnapping and such and my brain just wishes to remove some irritant and threat and make your skull into a pearl last time the manager of the poor dude even called me and I screamed at him in my underwear under the moon for a few minutes, too)

it occurs to me that Bill n Ted are good DCC PCs
Where was I?

Oh yes, wrong number calls.

So, the party finds this device, like a telephone pad, or maybe an Enigma device, or something with a couple of gizmos that have readily identifiable (but not probably understandable) runes, markings, whatever

Any party worth its salt will discard the thing, but we don't play with those people.  The wizard will try to figure it out, of course. Just noodling with it will cast a random LoTFP summon, which to my mind is the greatest meta-gaming spell there is and I am pretty sure Ramanan S. had a great automator for it a while back so it's a bit iffy if they'll keep it, but what they have is a cosmic cellphone handset and every so often you CONTACT OTHER PLANE and it could be a good one, so keep that number

FUTHARK 8675309 gets you a deva
TV6-5000 gets a vampire lord
MUDHONEY gets you an elemental of stickiness

like, there's an order to it, but not much, and you ought to be sort of careful 

keep a pokemon card deck handy, or maybe the Random Esoteric Creature Generator, or YuGiOh. I don't know, I'm torn about the RECG since it's Raggi, and it's Goodman Games, but fuck Jordan Peterson and those Kekistani guys and people that make a living by being provocative, I guess. YMMV but too close an association with scumbags makes one suspect, I guess? If a bunch of nazis latch on to your ideas then something is amiss

The trick will be for the user to remember the long (and sometimes complicated) sequence of runes/symbols/moves/whatever that will dial who/what they want, and maybe if they hit upon a good combination then kablammo now you've got a Deus Ex Machina device like some big ass giant eagles but these ones don't owe you nothing, man, in fact very time they bail your lame newb ass out you're getting in deeper to them and they could use some purple worms for breakfast

Anyway, if you want, you could use this thing I have made a while back to insert some entity (in fact, the principles are the same)

Monday, November 12, 2018

5 Room Adventure Practice

  1.  The Foyer
    1. This Room Houses a basin of dark, foul water. A pair of gaunt caryatid golems will leap down to destroy those who try to pass them without ablutions from the basin, which will mute contact with good deities and add hunger/withering effects to spells cast through arcane means. The owners of this tomb worshiped the Queen of Neverending Night. Wisps of  sharp cobwebs cover the statues, walls, and basin
  2. The Antechamber
    1. Crystalline spiders have shrouded the whole of the tomb henceforward with shimmery, vorpal webbing. Moving too fast or e.g. combat in this room will require Dex saves or damage to the PC. Breaking/shattering of the webs attracts crystalline spiders. There is a mosaic of nobles committing foul and obscene rites, sacrificing peasants, nightgaunts look on and above all the leering face of the QoNN
  3. False Tomb 1
    1. Easy to enter - the lock is painted red, cheap, and trapped with a poison needle that causes 2d6 damage (save for highest of the pair rolled only). A dais and sarcophagus - A gaunt noblewoman carved in alabaster is the lid. Inside, the remains of a handmaiden have been dressed in silks and festooned with brass gewgaws and a handful of cheap glass spread around the inside. A false map leads to certain death some leagues away. Everything is covered in contact poison that will cause itching and boils. Disturbing the lid brings shimmering spiders immediately
  4. False Tomb 2
    1. Somewhat harder to enter. The entrance from room 2 is hidden in the mosaic (the navel of a rapacious noblewoman is the trigger for the mechanism by which the door slides away). Inside, another sarcophagus. A nobleman, carved in alabaster, veins of iron artfully selected to appear as blood. Disturbing the lid causes a Coffer Corpse to leap up immediately, as the FF monster but he wields a poisoned great axe of evil and ancient design. If turned he will take his place in the sarcophagus and bide his time, rising up again when the turning's duration ends or the turner leaves the room. No treasure within the sarcophagus, but another map leading to a far-away (ludicrously large and totally imaginary) fortune. Pressing the eye sockets of the visage of the same nobleman on the side of the sarcophagus will cause the whole dais to slide, groaning, to the side revealing the cobwebbed entrance to room 5
  5. Real Tomb
    1. Egg sacs and webs of ethereal crystalline spiders hang here and there. Demons summoned by the owner of the tomb to guard it. Some long dead petty noble, a follower of the Ancient Queen of Night whose aim is to blot out the sun, give protection to corruption and to hide the misdeeds of the wealthy and evil. This room is a minor chapel to her, resting on a plinth is the real body of the dead man/woman. the body is covered in webs and the 1d8 large phase spiders do not permit approach. Fire will destroy the webs in the room, anger the spiders, and probably destroy the valuable tapestries, spellbooks (summoning phase spider (as monster but 1 level lower);darkness;silence;brew poison;brew aphrodisiac;petty divination) and 1d4 scrolls of evil clerical magic spells (level 2 or thereabouts). Vials of poison (brewed from phase spider venom) and aphrodisiacs/performance enhancers.
      The petty noble is half-living, perhaps a pseudolich, and fed upon the blood and fluids its pet spiders harvest from the local peoples. It will awaken and cast darkness, silence, and web immediately if any of the contents of the room are disturbed, and d12 large, hard-to-hit, and vengeful spider-demons will flood the room to feast and share their prey with their master.
The entrance to the tomb is in a subcellar of some wealthy dilletante's house in town. Plastered over. Most likely the owner is his/her ancestor. Her ownership of the home has caused the awakening of the spiders, who now traverse the neighborhood and feast and prey upon the poor and downtrodden populace. Children and night-walkers disappear. The new owner of the home is not well liked owing to lavish parties and questionable philosophies, but he/she is not fully aware of the cult of the Queen of Night but will gladly join should the PCs bring the matter to his/her attention. In fact, if they survive and do not destroy the spellbooks, scrolls, and other valuables, or otherwise hinder the revival of the cult, this area will become a bastion of the worship of the NightQueen and her demonic minions

The locals have suspicions. Perhaps a child is stolen when the PCs arrive. A fault in construction near the manorhouse of the noble provides access to the Foyer/Antechamber (exiting from the thing without first undertaking the ablutions will activate the caryatids, of course! and put the PCs in the winecellar of an irritable wealthy senator, councilperson, or somesuch). A hedgewizard scries the presence of spider-things flickering around the neighborhood.  A fabvorite doxy, barmaid, or tankard-boy at the local tavern is whisked away into the night right before a PC's eyes during carousing.

Pretty standard fare, I guess

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